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Home > 10 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping
10 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping7/20/2022

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According to the National Retail Federation, the average American household spends around $864 on back-to-school shopping for children in elementary school through high school and $1,199 for young adults going to college. With prices on the rise, we’re sharing ways that you can save on back-to-school shopping and beyond.

1. Create a checklist of items and stick to it.

Depending on your situation, the school may provide you with a checklist of items your child needs during the school year or, you may get a list of supplies or books you need from your professors. Before you hit the stores or start your online shopping, look around your house and see what supplies were left over from the previous school year. Mark off items you already have on hand from your checklist before you begin shopping and then buy only the items that remain on your list.

Tip: Use your checklist to help prepare a shopping budget. Knowing how much you can expect to spend ahead of time will help and having a list on hand will make it easier for you to stay on track financially, resist items you don’t need at the store, and separate your wants from needs.

2. Keep tabs on when your state has a tax-free shopping holiday.

Some states, like Florida, hold tax-free holidays during the year for certain products. Florida's 2022 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday begins Monday, July 25 and extends through Sunday, August 7 — making it a good time to shop for your back-to-school needs.

3. Consider shopping without the kids.

While this may not be an option, it is something to seriously consider if your spouse, a family member, or trusted friend can keep the kids entertained while you shop. Kids are more likely to fall for strategically placed items that stores want you to buy. Backpacks, notebooks, or lunch boxes with your kids' favorite superhero or cartoon character can be 30% more expensive than generic gear. If your kids insist that they need expensive or trendy gear, buy some stickers instead and have them decorate a plain backpack or lunchbox. It'll save you some money and be a fun activity for your kids.

4. Comparison shop online before going to the stores.

Looking online to see where you can get the best price for something before you drive out to the stores will help you save on time and gas. Also, you may find that the online price for an item may be cheaper than what it costs at the store.

Tip: Many stores offer a site-to-store or curbside pick-up. After doing your comparison shopping online, utilizing one of these services can help you mark items off your shopping list and avoid going inside the stores where you’re more likely to make impulse buys.

5. Set a clothing budget.

If you have kids needing back-to-school clothes, determine their clothing budget beforehand and stick to it. To make it fun for them too, decide on what items they must have and then give the remainder of the budgeted money to them so they can choose something they like too. If you're shopping for your own back-to-school clothing, look through your closet to see what items of clothing you can reuse or repurpose to make like new. Set a budget for yourself and make a list of needs and wants. Stick to your needs and mark them off your list first. If you have some extra money in your clothing budget left, treat yourself to a want item or tuck the extra cash away in savings for future use.

6. Set up e-mail alerts for sales.

Websites that focus on discounts can help you stay on top of the sales by letting you know when coupons or great deals are available for certain items. Also, subscribing to your favorite stores or brands' mailing lists gives you access to coupons or alerts about special promotions. Just practice impulse control and caution because it can be easy to fall into the trap of buying something because it’s a great deal when you don't really need it.

7. Buy school supplies in bulk.

Although you'll have a large expense initially, buying school supplies in bulk is cheaper in the long run. You get more supplies for your money and have them on hand for several months or years.

8. Go to garage/yard sales for clothing.

You can often find new or lightly worn articles of clothing at garage/yard sales and with online marketplaces readily available online, it’s easier to find bargains in your area.

9. Wait until August or September to buy your school supplies.

Usually, prices of school supplies drop significantly around late August or September. If there are items on your list that can wait, you'll likely be able to purchase it at a bargain price. Also, this time is good to shop supplies for the following year.

10. Take advantage of your credit card rewards

Your rewards credit card may offer bonus points for shopping at particular stores, giving you even more rewards for money you're spending anyway. Also, with your credit card at Members First Credit Union of Florida you can pay with your rewards at CVS®, Walgreens®, and participating Walmart® locations. You may also have rewards saved that you can use to redeem for merchandise — checking off items from your shopping list with no cost to you.


We'll Lend a Helping Hand

Sometimes you need more than your budget allows. With a Back-to-School loan at Members First Credit Union of Florida, you can borrow up to $2,000 for up to 12 months to spend on your back-to-school essentials. Call us at (850) 434-2211 and select option 2 to speak with a representative in our loan department or, stop by one of our branch locations. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have or get the application process started. You can also apply online today. 

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